Arts Business Competition Seeks Proposals from UW–Madison Student Arts Entrepreneurs, Announces 2024 Judge Panel

Arts Business Competition Call for Proposals banner

The University of Wisconsin–Madison’s Arts Business Competition is currently accepting proposals through Thursday, December 21, 2023 until 11:59 p.m. CST. The competition was created in 2009 to encourage UW–Madison students to develop and present a thorough proposal for an arts event, exhibition, performance, series, commercial venture, or other artistic project.

The Competition is open to students from any major, as well as projects featuring any arts disciplines. “This competition is for every student. This isn’t just for students that are committing their lives to the arts. This isn’t just for students who were raised in entrepreneurial households. This isn’t just for students that have had access and proximity to resources and encouragement. This is for any student with a cool artistic idea. We want students to feel empowered to submit a proposal, no matter what!” says Kayla McGhee, Arts Outreach and Engagement Coordinator. Entries may be from individuals or from teams of up to three. Only the team lead must be a full-time UW–Madison student; other members can be part-time students, students from other colleges or community members.

The top scored finalists advance to compete for the first-place prize of $2,000. Second place is $1,000 and third place is $500. Emerging Artist Awards for a proposal led by an undergraduate student (up to $500) are also available. Each year, a panel of judges reviews proposals for creativity, innovation, potential success, and added value to the arts. Judges this year include Dr. Roxie Hentz, Founding Executive Director of CEOs of Tomorrow, Inc., booking agent and founder of Revel Talent Alliance Brandon Hughes, and Associate Professor Helen Lee, Head of the Art Department Glass Lab, Faculty Director of The Studio and Impact 2030 Helen Burish Faculty Fellow.

McGhee adds, “We have a great panel of judges this year that are all business-savvy leaders. They each had an idea and had the courage to share that idea with the world. One of our judges has gone on to inspire young entrepreneurs in Botswana, another has booked bands at Lollapalooza and ACL Fest and another creates encouraging spaces for students every day here at UW–Madison. These are all people you want to get your ideas in front of! You never know what could come of it.”

Experts from the Bolz Center for Arts Administration offer a virtual mentorship meeting with finalists ahead of the finals event on Wednesday, February 28, 2024. Finalists will present their proposals on campus in front of the judges and an audience, and have until May 2025 to implement their ideas.

The Arts Business Competition is presented by the UW–Madison Division of the Arts in partnership with the Wisconsin School of Business Bolz Center for Arts Administration.

More details including the proposal requirements, timelines and sample proposals can be found by visiting

Judge Biographies

Roxie Hentz headshot

Dr. Roxie Hentz has over 30 years of experience in the education field, including service as a state education consultant, culturally responsive teacher leader, district-wide teacher mentor, university teacher-in-residence, adjunct professor, and classroom teacher. Currently she is the Founding Executive Director of CEOs of Tomorrow, a non-profit organization offering interdisciplinary and experiential social entrepreneurship education to youth. CEOs of Tomorrow was recently awarded the 2021 Force for Positive Change Award, which recognizes leading businesses in social entrepreneurship as a model for solving social or environmental challenges in a way that is sustainable, just, and generates impactful change in Wisconsin.

She is the author of It’s My Business: Inspiring Students’ Ideas for a Better Community and Youth Financial Wellness: A Resource Guide for Youth Organizations. Among her many awards and recognitions for her dedication to urban education and community leadership are the Fulbright Distinguished Teacher Award, MOST (Madison Out-Of-School Time) Outstanding Youth Worker Award, Jammin’ 98.3 Black History Maker Award, V100 Radio’s Positively People, Wisconsin’s Economic Teacher of the Year, YWCA Madison’s Women of Distinction Award, and was named one of Wisconsin’s Most Influential Black Leaders. She has been featured in BRAVA Magazine, Wisconsin State Journal, Madison Magazine, Madison365, The Cap Times, The Capital City Hues,, WMTV– Channel 15 News, and The Morning Show on Botswana Television.

Dr. Hentz earned her bachelor’s degree in education, her master’s degree in business administration, and her doctorate degree in education and leadership for the advancement of learning and service.

Brandon Hughes headshotBrandon Hughes (he/him) is a booking agent from Indianapolis and the founder of the booking agency Revel Talent Alliance. Brandon got his start in the music business as a student at Purdue University where he booked and promoted shows with Panic! at the Disco, Brad Paisley, Walk The Moon, and more. After school he moved to Chicago where he spent a few years learning the agency business at Monterey International and Paradigm Talent Agencies before launching Revel Talent Alliance in 2019. With a focus on artist development, Brandon has helped musicians build sustainable and fulfilling careers in touring while booking artists on some of the biggest stages and festivals in the country including Lollapalooza and Austin City Limits. His current roster of 24 acts features an eclectic mix of artists including Nico Segal, Motherfolk, Siena Liggins, and Ax and the Hatchetmen.

Helen Lee headshotHelen Lee (she/they) is an artist, designer and educator. She holds an MFA in Glass from RISD and a BSAD in Architecture from MIT. Her work uses glass to explore language and identity. Recent exhibitions include: Through a Glass Darkly at Delaware Contemporary, Translucency: the Tallinn Applied Art Triennial at the Kai Art Center in Estonia, and Momentum | Intersection at Toledo Museum of Art. Lee is currently an Associate Professor at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and serves as the Director of GEEX, the Glass Education Exchange.